Sunday, May 13, 2012

Final Card: Vic Roznovsky

This is the final card for backup catcher Vic Roznovsky (#368). Vic's major-league career consisted of 200 games over a 5-year period, playing for the Cubs, Orioles, and Phillies.

He was signed by the Pirates in 1958, and played 2 seasons of class-D ball in their organization. Before the 1960 season he was dealt to the Giants, and spent the next 4 seasons in their farm system, as a catcher-outfielder (along with 29 games at 3rd base in 1963).

In December 1963 the Cubs selected him in the minor-league draft, and after spending some time in triple-A, Vic made his major-league debut on June 28, 1964. He played in 35 games (15 starts) as the 3rd-string catcher behind Dick Bertell and Jimmie Schaffer.

It looks like the Cubs used the catcher-by-committee system in 1965. Bertell began the season as the starter, but was traded to the Giants in late May for catcher Ed Bailey and others. Meanwhile, Roznovsky and rookie Chris Krug were getting a lot of starts. The final tally behind the plate: Roznovsky - 44 starts, Krug - 46, Bailey - 45, Bertell - 29 (yes, they played 164 games that year).

Playing in 71 games in 1965 was the high point of Roznovsky's career, as the Cubs acquired Randy Hundley in the off-season and sent Vic packing to the Orioles for outfielder Carl Warwick. There, he backed up rookie Andy Etchebarren for most of the season, while also finding himself back in triple-A for 19 games. 1967 was a repeat of 1966, except that Roznovsky swapped slots in the pecking order with 1966's 3rd-string catcher Larry Haney.

Things got worse for Vic in 1968, as he spent the entire season at triple-A Rochester, rescued only by an April 1969 trade to the Phillies, who sent their '68 third-string backstop John Sullivan to the O's for Roznovsky. (There's some debate as to which was the better team - the 1969 Phillies or the AAA Rochester Red Wings.)  :D

Vic wrapped up his career gathering dust on the Phillie bench, as he was on the team for the entire season, but only played 13 games (14 plate appearances) and caught a grand total of 4 innings as the 3rd-stringer behind Mike Ryan and rookie Dave Watkins.

1 comment:

Douglas said...

Your statement about the 1969Phillies vs. Rochester is interesting. I had to look it up. The 1969 Phillies lost 99 games (even worse than 1972) but thanks to expansion that year they weren't the worst team. The 1969 Rochester team was just 2 games above .500 (nothing special). Rochester would eventually have an incredible 1971 season where it could be debated they were better than several MLB teams. A stronger argument for a 1969 AAA club being better than the Phillies was from Phillie's own AAA club in Eugene Ore. They finished with 88-58 record best in the AAA. Maybe they should have called up the entire club?